Letter: Let us restore trust in city government

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It seems a targeted effort is underway to vilify councilmember Weiss over costs and causes of the separation of former city manager Dupuis with no pushback from the council or any fact-finding organization.

I believe the current Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are at the heart of this problem, not councilmember Weiss.

Let’s take some time to right the record and call out facts.

About one year ago, I was sitting in a neighborhood ‘information session’ on Measure Q where the current Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem spoke against Measure Q with condescension and contempt for the Measure and, more importantly, toward the Measure organizers.  

It is one thing to make a reasoned argument; it is another to speak in snide and dismissive tones about the individuals involved.  

At that moment, I realized these are not people I want to represent me.

They failed to rein in the egregious behavior of former councilmember Peter Blake and completely failed to protect councilmember Toni Iseman from Blake’s vicious and libelous personal attacks, so much so that she left public service.

I did not vote for them to have the Orange County DA caution them against violating the Brown Act — that was them — not councilmember Weiss.

I note that they have somehow arranged to avoid passing along the position of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, arrogantly rotating themselves in and out of those two slots, excluding councilmember Weiss – even though by all previous longstanding custom, all councilmembers serve in those positions.  

I did not vote for them to speak for me to the media for all these years.  

I did not vote for them to have to the media spotlight to make pronouncements about the performance of the CM on handling police, payroll, traffic tickets, so-called cyber-bullying, so-called vandalism, the Hotel Laguna showdown, and most particularly not her so-called stellar performance and then pronouncing that by spending $500K that they somehow saved us money?

I voted for councilmember Orgill in part because he was candid and forthcoming about criticism he received about the failures of the former city manager.  

I am wondering why he has remained silent on these matters under the present circumstances.

I especially did not vote for Whalen or Kempf to hire such a massively ineffective PR firm that they failed to pass the Laguna Canyon power undergrounding bond issue in 2022.  

So now Laguna faces a potential conflagration like Lahaina. There are just two ways in and out of town. We must underground the powerlines in Laguna Canyon.

It is high time for Whalen and Kempf to follow Blake and their now well-paid acolyte out the door and let us restore trust in city government.

Kiku Terasaki, Laguna Beach

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11 COMMENTS

  1. You are mistaken on so many of your “facts” that it’s hard to know where to begin. The rest is opinion wrapped in unkindness.

  2. A fair analysis of the state of the City Council by this writer. It takes great courage to dare speak out against the supporters of the status quo in this town. Anyone voicing an opinion that threatens the developers, landlords CoC’s grip over city hall is usually deluged with criticism by the vocal representatives of those who profit from Laguna’s growing tourism and ever-expanding development.

  3. Thank you for speaking up about the Weiss smear campaign going on. I am also a believer that the overly-controlling Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are the root of the City Manager debacle and the questionable handling of the over-due separation. Their actions should be investigated.

    I especially agree with this statement: “It is high time for Whalen and Kempf to follow Blake and their now well-paid acolyte out the door and let us restore trust in city government.”

    If anyone should resign over the city manager mess they created it should be them. They have both sacrificed residents and our city for their self-interest/investor/developer campaign funders. Voters, accept no more of such untrustworthy city leadership.

  4. Chris Quilter, surely you can begin with anyone one of Kiku’s assertions and explain why she is wrong. Why don’t you start with the pressure that the Police Chief and other senior
    police officials put on the officer that issued Dupuis a citation to change his story. If you will remember Dupuis told the officer she was talking to the Police Chief when she was pulled over. The officer then called the Chief and asked him if he had just been talking to Dupuis. We don’t have a recording of the Chief’s answer but then the officer said “then she lied to me and I’m going to issue her a citation” or words to that effect. Then for the next few days there were many meetings between the Chief and his staff and with Dupuis to concoct a story which ultimately resulted in pressure being put on the arresting officer to change his story. Then Dupuis tells us that the reason the officer took a three week stress related sick leave was because he was the first responder on three highway fatalities. So the officer waited how many months to be come so stressed? Chris, the fact that he was coerced to change his story about the traffic stop to me is is the much more logical reason for his stress.

    Just as the much more logical reason for the “Fishy Feces Saga” was some close friend of Dupuis’s did the deed to make people feel sorry for her. I’m not holding my breath to see an arrest made in this case which is likely a felony because the cleanup cost was likely more than $400. The Police Chief , the Mayor and a lot of people including you were very upset at the vandalism. But the vandalism will go unsolved because the police investigation is looking if they looked at all at the wrong group of people. This gaslighting event fooled some people that wanted to be fooled but many residents were not fooled.

    And look at the obvious felony trespassing and destruction of property at the Hotel Laguna and 14 West. It turns out that, according to court documents, Hornarkar was the one who was armed. In CA malicious vandalism with damage of more than $400 and while being armed carries a penalty up to $50,000 and a one year jail term with an additional year in jail if the vandal is armed. Please answer why did theDupuis issued an order to arrest no one and remove the rightful owners of the properties and their guests in the middle of the night instead of allowing the police to arrest the thugs lead by Mo Hornarkar. I know this is an inconvenient fact for some but I have not heard any excuse from you and other supporters of the ex CM on this matter.

  5. You nailed it, Kiku.

    Let me add that the Whalen/Kempf/Blake/Dupuis/Kohn cabal was also responsible for changing City Council protocol regarding the introduction of agenda items for discussion during City Council meetings. Both of these changes were designed to erode democracy, shut out resident representation, and put city government under the cabal’s control.

    First – they voted to put a limit on the number of agenda items that a Council member can submit, where before they could submit as many as they thought appropriate.

    Secondly, they appointed the all-in-for-business/development/investors/tourism City Manager as the gatekeeper, responsible for determining which agenda items would be allowed for public discussion in City Council meetings.

    Both of these changes occurred after Councilman Weiss submitted several resident and quality of life-oriented agenda items, which the business/development/investor/tourism cabal apparently objected to.

    Others might not call this strangling of democracy corruption, but I sure would.

    Remember this voters at the next election, when Whalen may again run for office.

  6. I agree with the author. We must restore trust in our city government. And it should start with telling residents the truth of why our departed City Manager is no longer with us. This smear campaign on Weiss is fabricated on nothing. This City Manager leveled the same, the exact same accusations against me and 3 other residents from her position on the dias. The same accusations, verbatim. All bogus, all unsubstantiated. We repeatedly asked for either proof or a retraction. Crickets from the woman. Her complaint against Weiss is just as bogus. Where is the proof? So City Council – are you ever going to come clean and explain why she was let go? Did it have something to do with the possible lawsuit by MOM Laguna over the handling of the May 2 Hotel Laguna invasion and Kempf/Whalen’s knowledge that they should have been arrested for trespassing? That if it comes out that those two were party to the deception it was better to get rid of her before a lawsuit came out? Yeah – pigs will fly before Kempf/Whalen release any information on the real reason Dupuis was let go. That’s why they have to go – we can not have trust in our city government with the two of them on the dias.

  7. Kiku, I so appreciate what you write and your strong voice of reason. Your intelligent mind has definitely mastered the situation and I hope you will continue to speak. Our Nation and now our city that seems to follow the antics in Washington is in complete disarray. Your voice and those “activists” that continue to know what is going on, must never stop. Two people still in our CC are the ones responsible for hiring a completely and inappropriate city manager in exchange for their agenda..we have all suffered by installing and packing our committee’s and city hall dept’s! I agree, it is totally time to restore trust in government!!!

  8. Liberal Cliches them all. “Restore Trust” is virtue signalling corruption. “Complete Disaray” is their discription of an arguement they can’t win. “Before the Lawsuit” a smoke screen to cover their personal disatisfaction of a good business strategy. “Changing the Protocol” is their excuse for being too emotional and incompetent parlimentarians. This carping will never end in Laguna because these people have too much time and too much need to ‘Belong’. So everyone else, please back down and listen to “Their Voices of Reason”. Truth is Laguna’s dying and they’re killing it with their mindlessness.

  9. Melissa, VERY good! Ethics is not a social convention that these locals switch on discard depending on their “emergency”. Ethics is an objective necessity of our town’s survival and not to be subject the the neighbors whims, but by the reality and the nature of life. Something not taught to our locals in any way shape or form.

  10. Ms Zoler, I wish you would tell the more than the 6.5 MILLION visitors a year that Laguna is dying. Or is this the old and tired trope of the businesses and mostly absentee building owners in order to have more bars and restaurants as well as an increase in the 20 MILION DOLLAR subsidy they receive from the homeowners.

  11. Ms Zoler: New to town? I’ve never seen anything from you on any local social media before now. Plus typing your name in any internet search engines results in nothing. You must have kept a very low social media profile. When did you join us here in beautiful Laguna Beach; that’d help us all put your comments into context.

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